Original article posted Aug 3, 2017
See original article at Monterey County Weekly
Wippich says of her work: “I let people tell me what they see. When they are seeing what they want to see, they’re being creative.”
Karen Wippich of Portland, Oregon, worked as a self-taught graphic designer for 40 years. Twenty years ago she and her husband formed their own graphic design company, Dot Zero Designs, to service Pacific Northwest clients like Pendleton, Popina Swimwear and the annual Big Float festival.
Then she stalled out.
“I didn’t love graphic design anymore,” she says.
She had kept an eye on contemporary art for years, and got a taste by participating in a group show of artwork supporting the presidential election of Barack Obama. So Wippich (pronounced “wih-pick”) switched direction.
She started making “fine art” art by scanning through turn-of-the-century stock photos she bought in the ’90s for faces and heads that catch her eye. She chooses her human subjects and collages together a miniature urban setting around them, as if they are giants stomping through a cityscape. She prints them out in sections, pastes them together like a puzzle, then draws and paints swatches of color on top.
They end up pretty large, consistent and popular.
For one group show of 500 small works in Portland, her pieces sold fast. Another show in that city’s White Space gallery led to another one at Gallery 81435 in Telluride, Colorado. And now she’s bouncing down to California for a Press Club show.
She’s coy about the intent behind the content of her illustration-style collages, saying that she doesn’t think about anything in particular when she’s making them, a process akin to painting with her “subconscious mind.”
Asked about why she features a central character looming huge and out of proportion to the rest of the landscape and people, she turns the tables: “What do you think that’s about?”
I hazard a guess: hero worship?
“Could be,” she says. “I’d have to think about that. I think it comes from within me. It’s probably something I should figure out. Probably domination and society, something deep.”
She’s enjoying this moment in her new career, which is proceeding effortlessly, like her art.
“I don’t really have a plan,” she says. “I’m just going with it.”
Karen Wippich is represented by Meredith Bless of Taiga Creative. Karen’s work is featured at the Press Club in Seaside, CA | The La Jolla Gallery in La Jolla/San Diego, CA